Amnesia: The Bunker developer Frictional Games is looking to cut back on horror games "to give greater focus on other emotional qualities".
Speaking to 80.lv, Frictional creative director Thomas Grip echoed the sentiments of fellow horror studio Bloober Team, which also recently said it was stepping away from the games it was traditionally known for.
"While all of our games have been horror in some way, what we really try to do is to get a kind of playable immersion," Grip said. "We want to give the player some sort of immersive fantasy, be that being a [World War 1] soldier trapped in a bunker or a robot stuck at the bottom of the ocean.
"Horror games naturally are where emotions are front and centre. Games really excel at this. However, we are also exploring themes outside of making things spooky."
Grip explained that Frictional has made games about non-horror themes, like caring for an unborn child in Rebirth or ideas of consciousness in SOMA, but just packaged them in a horror setting. "It’s not about the fear, it’s about the holistic fantasy we deliver in each of our stories," he said.
"For future projects, I think we will cut back a bit on the horror aspects in order to give greater focus on other emotional qualities. I am confident that these games will still feel like Frictional ones. The immersion, the personal journey, and a holistic vision are what I see as defining traits of a Frictional game — not just horror as such."
Bloober Team, the developer behind the upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake and other horror games like The Medium, Blair Witch, and Observer, made the similar announcement in June. Instead of stepping away from the genre altogether, however, Bloober Team said it was moving on from psychological horror to something more "mass-market".
Frictional had found significant success with the horror genre, with its most recent release of Amnesia: The Bunker being praised by fans (holding a 92% "very positive" rating on Steam) and critics.
In our 8/10 review, IGN said: "Amnesia: The Bunker is a smaller, more self-contained episode in the groundbreaking horror franchise that shows Frictional still has some chilling new tricks up their sleeves."
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.